Mantha demands Premier investigate exorbitant property tax assessments on northern homes

During Question Period today, Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, called on Premier Wynne to step in to help northern families whose property tax assessments have been disproportionately increased by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

“People in the North use more hydro because they lack access to natural gas. They also pay the highest hydro rates.  On top of this, now some northern families are getting hit with huge property tax assessments, with MPAC claiming that homes in places like Walkers Lake have somehow doubled or tripled in value in just the past four years,” Mantha said.  “I heard from one senior on a fixed income, whose property assessment has increased from under $80,000 to over $180,000. It doesn't make sense and she can't afford it.”

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on International Day to Eradicate Poverty

Each year, people around the world mark October 17 as the International Day to Eradicate Poverty.

In Ontario, this is a day to recommit ourselves to the fight for economic justice as a fundamental human right.

As New Democrats, we refuse to accept that poverty and inequality are inevitable – the challenge of eradicating poverty and injustice is at the core of what drives us each and every day.

This is why we fight for an economy that works for everyone. 

New Democrats believe we need to make it easier to join a union, to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollar/hour, to build more affordable housing, to ensure social assistance protects vulnerable people.

New Democrats believe in fairness.  We believe that anyone who works at a temporary job agency should receive the same pay and benefits as the coworker sitting next to them.  We know that a good job is the starting point that people need in order to build a good life for themselves.  And when people cannot work they need to know that their government is there for them providing the help and support they need to live in dignity.

We will continue to fight for strong public services like childcare, healthcare, education and public electricity that help make life a little bit easier for the people of this province.

Everyone who lives in Ontario knows what a wonderful place it can be to live and raise a family.  The NDP is committed to making sure that the future of our children and grandchildren is one that includes a province where no one is left behind.

Liberal plan to sell off patient health records not in the best interests of Ontarians

Statement by Ontario NDP Health Critic France Gélinas

Ontario NDP Health Critic France Gélinas issued the following statement on the Liberal plan to sell off patient health records to the private sector.

“The Liberals are asking Ed Clark, their privatization czar, to help the government ‘maximize the value’ of Ontario’s assets in its digital health system. I have heard those words before; Premier Wynne uses those words when she means privatization. It looks like the Liberals are trying to find a PR-friendly way of saying they want to privatize more of our healthcare system. Ontarians expect their healthcare system to look out for patients, not hand confidential health records to private, for-profit companies. Ontarians expect health care cuts and privatization from Conservatives, but they expected more from the Premier. Nobody voted to have our private, personal, confidential health records sold off to the private sector.”


Horwath pushes the government to protect Ontario’s water supply

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath pushed the Liberal government to do more to protect Ontario’s long-term water sources.

“We need an Ontario Water Strategy to ensure that there is a sustainable supply of clean water for people today, and for generations to come,” said Horwath during Question Period.  “The Premier seems to think the way to protect Ontario’s water is simply to charge water bottling companies more to take it. That’s not good enough, that simply means that our water goes to the highest bidder, instead of ensuring that it's there for the people of Ontario for drinking, growing food, and sanitation needs in the future.”

NDP leads the way in declaring Islamic Heritage Month this October, in Ontario

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and MPP Teresa Armstrong were joined by Farheen Khan from the International Development and Relief Organization and Dr. Al-Nadvi  from the Canadian Council of Imams in celebrating the establishment of Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario. 

“Over the past few weeks, we have been pushing for Islamic Heritage Month to be officially recognized in Ontario,” said Horwath during a press conference Thursday morning at Queen’s Park.  “Establishing October as Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario is an important opportunity to celebrate Islamic culture and to reaffirm that our province’s diversity is something to celebrate. The NDP is proud to stand with the Muslim community in making this happen.” 

NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong, who introduced the Bill, was pleased to see it finally become law after some weeks of uncertainty caused by the Liberal government’s lack of support for Unanimous Consent.

“There was really no reason not to do this, and I am thankful for the support of the Official Opposition and now of the government.  I think we all know how important it is to put aside our political differences when something as important as establishing Islamic Heritage Month is on the table,” said Armstrong.

The Province is now in line with the Federal government and many local school boards – including the TDSB- which have already taken this step.

“The Canadian Council of Imams would like to thank the NDP for championing this bill. This is an opportunity to highlight the true values and contributions of the Muslim community in Ontario and encourage a much needed dialogue in our province,” said Dr. Al-Nadvi. “We welcome this important step in building bridges between communities.” 

"As we see an increase of islamophobic incidents both in Ontario and across the country, it's now more important than ever before to acknowledge and to celebrate the contributions of Muslims in Ontario,” said Farheen Khan. “The passing of this bill an opportunity to combat hatred and islamophobia by educating current and future generations of Ontarians, and I applaud the NDP's hard work on passing this bill." 

"I thank Andrea Horwath and MPP Teresa Armstrong for introducing this bill. Conversations about Islam are too often framed around negative events. This can be emotionally challenging for children in schools, and it can skew their perceptions,” said Mr. Illyas Ally, Imam for the Islamic Dawa Centre and Executive Producer of Let the Quran Speak.  “Islamic Heritage Month will give children a vehicle to explore Islam from a new angle, empowering children to develop a healthier, richer understanding of Islamic heritage."

Gélinas calls out Thibeault for false promise of 20 per cent hydro rebate to Sudbury families

During Question Period today, Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, demanded the Liberal MPP for Sudbury, and the Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault, admit that the great majority of northern families will not be receiving the Wynne government’s promised additional hydro rate rebate.

“For weeks now, people from northern and rural Ontario have been told by this minister that they are going to get a 20 per cent reduction on their hydro bill. The minister stood in this House on September 27, and said, ‘A 20 per cent reduction for families in rural, remote and northern communities, like in my part of the province, will actually be a significant savings for many families.’ The minister lives in the riding of Sudbury, and not one of his constituents will qualify for the 20 per cent savings,” Gélinas said.

Armstrong calls on premier for $15 minimum wage commitment

During Question Period today, Teresa Armstrong, MPP for London-Fanshawe, demanded the premier raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, after a new report showed  thousands of Londoners are living in extreme poverty, and face a “brutal” situation.

“A new report shows that London has deep, entrenched, poverty – a situation the report authors call ‘brutal’. 35,000 Londoners live in extreme poverty. And almost 8 per cent are jobless.  For individuals, that equates to an income of $11,000, and for a lone parent it’s $19,000 per year,” said Armstrong.

In Hamilton and across Ontario, people can’t afford privatization

Today during Question period, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath highlighted the extreme unaffordability of hydro in the province as she told the story of her constituents Ernie Warner and his wife.  Horwath asked the Premier if they should be paying the price for her privatization schemes. 

“Ernie got in touch with my office because his hydro bill has increased by 20 per cent over the last few months. His wife requires home dialysis ‎and has no choice but to run it during peak hours,” said Horwath during Question Period.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath statement on Hispanic Heritage Month in Ontario


Como líder del partido Nuevo-Demócrata de Ontario, quisiera agradecer y reconocer a toda la comunidad latinoamericana por sus innumerables contribuciones a esta provincia y a este país.

Unidos en base a los ideales que compartimos, ideales como familia, respeto, trabajo, y justicia, continuaremos trabajando juntos para que nuestros hijos reciban la educación necesaria para construir un mejor mañana.

Hoy, más que nunca, cuando la política de división reina en algunos rincones de Norteamérica, debemos seguir unidos.

Aunque algunos traten de separarnos, y quieran construir muros entre nosotros, no debemos permitir que nos dividan. Juntos derrotaremos la política del miedo y el odio, y la reemplazaremos con esperanza y con amor. Solo así, nuestra provincia y nuestro país, continuarán creciendo y prosperando.

Andrea Horwath
Ontario NPD



As Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, I would like to recognize and thank each member of the Latin American community for the countless contributions you have made to make this a better province, and a better country.

Based on our shared values of family, respect, hard work, and justice, we can work together to make sure that our children get the education they need to lead all of us to a better tomorrow.

Today, more than ever, we must work together as politics of division are at work in North America. While some work to separate us, and to build walls between us, we will not be divided.

Together we will defeat the politics of fear and hate, and replace it with hope and love.

Our city, our province, and the country, will continue to grow and prosper because of your participation.

Thank you. Muchas gracias.

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Ontario Agriculture Week

“On behalf of the Ontario NDP and in recognition of Ontario Agriculture Week, thank-you to all of Ontario’s agricultural producers!

I encourage people across the province to celebrate this week by stopping in at your local farmer’s market, making an extra effort to buy Ontario produce at your grocery store, or treating your family to a night out at a restaurant that sources their food locally.

Ontario has 37,000 farm families who produce a year-round supply of meat, eggs, dairy and greenhouse vegetables.  By buying local, you are supporting these families and our province’s local economies not to mention getting fresh, delicious and environmentally friendly groceries. 

So go out and enjoy all the delicious food Ontario has to offer.  Happy Ontario Agriculture Week!”

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Rosh Hashanah

“Rosh Hashanah is a time for redemption, forgiveness and renewal in the Jewish faith. It is a time to gather with family, friends and community in celebration.  It is a time to reflect on the year that was, and look forward to the year ahead.

The Ontario NDP is proud to celebrate this day with the Jewish community in Ontario and to say thank-you for the many outstanding contributions of Ontarians of Jewish faith to our province.

To everyone who is celebrating this Holy day, Ontario’s New Democrats wish you peace, prosperity and good health.

Shanah tovah and have a “sweet” new year.”

Statement from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Orange Shirt Day


“Today, I wear orange in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the many Indigenous children, throughout this country, who were taken from their homes and placed in residential schools. I wear orange to encourage the people around me to talk about the legacy of the schools. We must ask questions about the consequences of living in a place where your identity didn’t matter, where young children like Phyllis Webstad were forced to give up precious possessions like a new orange shirt, where Indigenous children’s traditions, heritage and culture were removed from them. As children all over Ontario and across Canada have just recently gone back in school, Orange Shirt Day is an important opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying discussions happening in classrooms. It is a stark reminder that we must keep discussing the past to learn from it. Today, on Orange Shirt Day, my wish is for the children of Ontario to talk to their teachers, classmates and parents about the residential schools and to understand that difference is not something to be feared, but rather, it is something to be celebrated.”

An NDP Government will create an Ontario Water Strategy, commits Horwath

Today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath held a roundtable discussion with local residents to discuss the issue of water taking in Ontario and commit to creating a province-wide Water Strategy should the party form government in 2018.

“Water is a public trust.  Under an NDP government, an Ontario Water Strategy will prioritize planning for water needs now and for future generations based on the public interest, and sustainable public access to water,” said Horwath following the roundtable.

An Ontario Water Strategy will be based on the principle that the public should have access to water for drinking, sanitation and food; ensuring that communities have the water needed for planned sustainable growth; the Strategy will create an inventory of water use and return across the Province and will prioritize sustainable long-term water use planning.

On Tuesday Guelph City Council agreed to hear community input regarding bottled water permits in November.

“A particular focus of the NDP’s Water Strategy will be a transparent and public review of the Permit-to-take-Water process, to ensure that the needs of the public come first,” noted Horwath. “This has to be about good stewardship and sustainability. Simply increasing prices isn’t the answer.”

LGBTQ families finally recognized: NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo

Today, the Liberal government finally acted on Cheri DiNovo’s (NDP MPP, Parkdale-High Park) call for parental equality by announcing the introduction of All Families Are Equal Act, 2016 to grant equal parental rights for all families.

“We are pleased that LGBTQ families are finally going to be given equal rights,” said NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, author of the original bill, Cy and Ruby’s Act giving parental recognition to LGBTQ parents. “This has long been overdue,” DiNovo added.

DiNovo’s bill had previously passed second reading but the government let it languish in committee. It died when the Liberal government prorogued the legislature.

Earlier this year, LGBTQ families issued a Charter challenge against the Ontario government and the courts ordered the government to bring in legislation to end discrimination against LGBTQ parents by September 30, 2016.

NDP reintroduced bill for Sikh motorcycle helmet exemption

NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea-Gore-Malton) introduced a bill today calling for an exemption to motorcycle helmet laws for turbaned Sikhs.  

“The Wynne government has an opportunity to recognize the civil rights of Sikhs in Ontario, rights that are recognized elsewhere in the country, and around the world,” Singh said.   “Granting an exemption to motorcycle helmet laws for turbaned Sikhs already exist in the United Kingdom, Manitoba and British Columbia, and here in Ontario the idea is supported by members from all three parties.”

MPP Singh has tabled this same bill twice previously, as Bill 196 on May 12, 2016, and as Bill 145 on December 3, 2013. 

“For over 10 years, the Sikh community has been working towards a legislated exemption for members of the Sikh faith who wear turbans when operating a motorcycle, but the Liberal government has failed to take action,” Singh said.

“There is little justification for this government to continue denying Ontario’s Sikh community the rights they already have in other jurisdictions.  Ontario’s New Democrats were the first party in Ontario to recognize the Sikh articles of faith, and as a proud New Democrat, I will continue to work with my colleagues to legislate the protection of all articles of faith.”

NDP Leader pushes to pass Islamic Heritage Month Bill in Legislature

This morning Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was disappointed when her Liberal colleagues in the Ontario Legislature failed to pass Bill 23, the Islamic Heritage Month Act 2016.

“This was an opportunity for us, as representatives of the people of Ontario, to come together to take action on the rising prevalence of Islamophobia and hate-motivated crime in our Province,” noted Horwath. “Celebrating Islamic culture, history and the contributions of people of Islamic heritage to our society is an important step that we need to take. Learning about each other and celebrating our diversity is a meaningful and effective way to combat hatred.”

London-Fanshaw MPP Teresa Armstrong, who introduced the Bill earlier this week, added that the NDP will not give up the fight to establish October as Islamic Heritage Month.

“I am very dedicated to seeing this Bill become law and I know Andrea is too,” said Armstrong.  “We will do whatever it takes to see October become Islamic Heritage Month in Ontario.”

The Ontario NDP has been working diligently to find ways to address racism, from calling for an end to arbitrary, race-based police street checks (carding), to pushing the Liberal government to finally establish the Anti-Racism Directorate.

“This is about building a better future for all of our children,” continued Horwath.  “We have to make sure that every member of the Muslim community, and every Ontarian, feels safe and secure here in our Province. That’s the only way Ontario can reach its potential.  All Ontarians should be able to learn about and celebrate the tremendous contributions that Ontarians of Islamic Heritage have made throughout our province’s history – and the tremendous contributions that thecommunity is making to build a better future for all of us.”

NDP Private Members Bill on Sexual and Domestic Violence to be reintroduced

NDP Women’s Issues critic Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West, was joined today by representatives of academia, labour and the community to announce the reintroduction of her Private Member’s Bill to provide survivors of sexual violence or domestic violence with up to 10 days of paid leave, and reasonable unpaid leave. The bill also allows for workplace accommodations and requires all employers to provide mandatory workplace training on domestic and sexual violence. 

The need for paid leave for survivors of domestic violence was raised repeatedly by groups and individuals during hearings of the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment and public input on Bill 132. The issue was also highlighted in submissions made to the Changing Workplaces Review and is referenced in the Special Advisors’ Interim Report, which identifies paid domestic violence/sexual violence leave as one of the options that must be considered.

The bill would entitle survivors to up to 10 days of paid leave to obtain specific services related to the violence:

Wynne government needs a strategy to face the opioid crisis: NDP

During Question Period today, France Gélinas, Ontario NDP health critic, demanded the Wynne government take action to stop the rising number of deaths in Ontario as a result of fentanyl and opioid overdoses.

Despite the rise in tragic deaths in Ontario, as a result of fentanyl and opioid overdoses, the Wynne Liberal government still has no real-time monitoring of such deaths to assist physicians and public health officials trying to deal with this health crisis,” said Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt.